New technology helps track students during emergency situations

Posted at 4:02 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 17:37:08-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — After the Parkland school shooting in 2018, the state commission recommended that law enforcement and school districts communicate better with families during emergency situations.

Now the Martin County School District is launching a new and unique safety program to help unite families.

Fourth graders at Citrus Grove Elementary in Palm City stepped onto the school bus Wednesday and swiped their student badges.

The class patricipated in an evacuation drill in case there is ever a crisis on campus.

"This is something new. It's not out there. First time we're testing it," said Frank Frangella, the Martin County School District's safety and security director

The school district gave WPTV a first look at cutting edge technology being used to help reunite students with their parents in an emergency situation.

"The way this system differs from every other system, it starts off at the actual evacuation site," Frangella said.

Frangella helped build the new reunification system with the company ReaXium. Technology through iPads is already being used to help track bus riders, but now there's another layer.

Students will first swipe their badge when they get on the school bus.

"We can pull that emergency contact information in real-time, send out a message to the parents and guardians saying your child is on the bus and headed to this location," Frangella said.

The district will then use the iPads to send an automatic alert directly to parents telling them exactly where they can pick up their child.

"It's the idea that by integrating these technologies they have a bird's eye view of what's going on and can better communicate to families the right next steps," said Maria Riquezes, a solution specialist for ReaXium.

The goal is to reunite families faster off campus, cut down on the confusion and chaos, and prevent parents from immediately showing up at school if an emergency is happening.

"We want to make sure we have everybody accounted for in the quickest time possible," Frangella said.

"The next step is that training will begin for all administrators and the district is looking to use this technology right away.